Ike and I share a love for hiking. We have spent many days walking uphill to reach the famous views that the Blue Ridge Mountains offer. We have experienced many starry nights in a sheer top tent close and alone. We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and Saturday afternoons in these mountains finding ourselves as the chilly nights and hot afternoons cover us. 

We are training to trek a small portion of the Appalachian Trail this summer so we find ourselves here many times learning about our physical limitations (read: Libby's limitations) and our strength together as a couple. Isaac could probably be one of the world's fastest hikers, but I ask him to walk slowly for my body & spirit. I want to take it all in - the wild places that lead to secret beauty. 

I had strayed and I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before.
— Cheryl Strayed, Wild

These wild places show me in strange ways to let things be and journey on. Many fears can be released here- many prayers & stories set free. Isaac and I can talk for hours under these trees that hold our secrets, our questions, and even our laughs that make our guts tighten and tears fall. The wild places become places where you find safety and havens. 

God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home
— Psalms 91:9-10, The Message

I get to a point where my wiggly legs feel like they cannot carry on any longer. Ike keeps moving up ahead with Russ and says, "We're gonna make it." 

I read the book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and she speaks on the wild mountains & hiking like our journey in life - wild and unknown. 

Have you ever had wild places in your life? Places abandoned that leave us realizing how little control we have on circumstances and events.  

-People say things to hurt you and your reputation

-A sudden death of a loved one

-A tragic event or situation that changes the course of our story

I use to fear wild places - badly. As if I could control those situations by "following life's rules" or decoding the formula for no pain (as if life has a formula). 

But, I soon accepted and expected the wild places in my life. I stopped living in fear of what "could be" or "what happened" but learned to keep moving forward - step by step. 

I began to learn and see things I would have never known or understood had the wild places not brought me here. 

And I wonder, "what if I missed this?" This madness and chaos that brings me to Him. This uncertainty and confusion that brings such clarity of who He is. What if I gave up and stopped when my legs and lungs labored? What if I never accepted the very thing that was for my soul's freedom to find Him among the wild places? It shows me a new view He created. 

I would never wish certain things on my family or people, but life brings each of us wild places, untamed and at times scary. We can run and hide - like I have wanted to do so many times. 

Or we can link arms with one another and climb shouting, "We are gonna make it."